MINICT, RURA and Embassy of Japan held a joint press conference on the launch of RWASAT-1

The Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT),Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and Embassy of Japan in Rwanda held a joint press conference on RWASAT-1, Rwanda’s first satellite that was developed by Rwandan Engineers in collaboration with University of Tokyo.

Speaking at the Press Conference, Hon. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT & Innovation noted that it's the beginning of the broader space program Rwanda has ventured into.

“When we started shaping and designing our national space program, we knew building capacities were going to be a foundation. We have been working with different partners specifically the government of Japan and the University of Tokyo. This is the beginning of the broader space program Rwanda has ventured in and we are delighted for the successful launch of RWASAT-1. It is another step made by Government of Rwanda in developing Rwanda’s Space Program.”

Remarking on RWASAT-1 project, Lt Col Patrick NYIRISHEMA, the Director General of RURA said: ''We have chosen to invest in lean satellite technologies, in terms of capacity building. We are very happy to announce that Rwandan engineers are part of RWASAT-1 project. Lean satellite technologies are the future. Our goals as a nation is to meaningfully engage in shaping that future.”

In his remarks, H.E Takayuki MIYASHITA, Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, said: “I am extremely happy that RWASAT-1 has been launched into the space successfully during my term of office. Japan will continue to assist Rwanda in the development of space technology, especially the transfer of the know-how for the management of satellite including regulations and regional coordination.”

INFORMATION ON THE LAUNCH OF RWASAT-1:

On September 24, 2019 at 1803hrs Rwanda time, an H2-B rocket carrying Rwanda’s first satellite, RWASAT-1, was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center by the Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA). The HTV-8 “Kounotori 8”, a cargo ship which stores RWASAT-1 was captured by the robotic arm of the International Space Station (ISS) on September 28 at 1313hrs.

A team of three Rwandans Engineers with support of engineers from the University of Tokyo has been working on developing the RWASAT-1 CubeSat in the Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT).

After the deployment of RWASAT-1 into orbit on November 18 2019 from the Japanese KIBO module on the ISS, relevant stakeholders from the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture will, via a remote ground station in Kigali, utilize data received from RWASAT-1 to make informed decisions in the prediction of crop yields as well as soil moisture monitoring and this will be achieved by RWASAT-1’s antennas alongside the two multi-spectral cameras on board the satellite communicating with already deployed ground sensors in Rwanda.

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